In August 1969, leaders in the Palestinian left-wing organization Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) learned that Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli Ambassador to the United States was scheduled to be aboard a Trans World Airlines (TWA) Rome-Athens-Tel Aviv flight. Late that month (on the 29th), two operatives, Leila Khaled and Salim Issawi, hijacked the aircraft. The operation was successful, although Rabin was not aboard. The hijackers made the pilots land the aircraft at Damascus International Airport in Syria. They evacuated the aircraft, a Boeing 707, and blew up the nose section of the aircraft. The Syrian authorities arrested the hijackers and immediately released the 12 crew members and 95 passengers, retaining at first six Israeli passengers. Of those, four were released on the 30th. The remaining two Israeli passengers were released in December that year in return for 71 Syrian and Egyptian soldiers released by Israel. The two Palestinian hijackers had been released without charges in mid-October.